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How Iowa Paved the Way for Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide


The latest Marquette poll results show a majority of Wisconsinites agree with this year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country.

That ruling came on the heels of a separate court decision in 2014 that effectively voided Wisconsin’s prohibition of them, as well.

Well before either decision, Iowa became the first Midwestern state to usher in the era of legal same-sex marriage, when its Supreme Court ruled unanimously that prohibiting gay marriage was unconstitutional.

Outside observers might have been surprised that a state with a conservative reputation would have been so far ahead on the issue. But a new book by former Des Moines Register reporter and Milwaukee area native Tom Witosky says the decision was very much in line with Iowa’s history.

"I think it is basically accepted," Witosky says. "People have discovered that life hasn’t changed very much, and it’s one of those things where if you don’t see life changing, you begin to say to yourself, 'Well, what was the big deal all along?'"

Witosky co-authored a book with Marc Hansen on the topic, called Equal Before the LawHe will give a talk Friday evening at Boswell Book Company.